Believing Truly

Nowadays, the mention of Allaah’s name rarely evokes any emotions, elicits keenness or invokes awe in our mind. We believe in Allaah in a superficial or perfunctory manner. Although we claim to be Muslims, we do not seriously think about or evaluate the quality, strength or genuineness of our faith. The majority of us are content with claiming to be believers without seriously reflecting on what belief in Allaah really means.

Thus, our life in general is no different from that of any non-Muslim. It is not lived with the fear of being accountable to Him Who is precisely aware of all our actions and motives. There is no trembling upon thinking of His greatness, authority or power, nor is there an ongoing consciousness of His presence. Hardly are any efforts made to develop intimacy with Him through remembering Him day and night. Scarcely is there any attempt to find out how He wants us to live. Seldom do we engage in self-evaluation to monitor if our lifestyle is according to Allaah’s commands. Very few, if any, of our priorities are according to the guidelines He has promulgated. The way we spend our days and nights -- living at home, socializing, earning a livelihood, having fun, enjoying leisure, holding parties, celebrating, attending shows and movies, etc. -- everything is the same as any Non-Muslim does. We hear Allaah’s commands and mostly neglect them. They are presented to us and we react as if they are not for us. We come up with all the reasons why they cannot be acted upon. We surmise that someone else has made it impossible for us to follow them -- be it mullahs, politicians, kings, superpowers, intelligence agencies, etc.

We assume that these kinds of excuses absolve us from making any concerted effort to establish Allaah’s commands in our lives. Even those who claim to practice Islam, submit more to their families, friends and relatives under whose pressures they continue with the customs and traditions of the society than they do to Allaah. They tend to have more confidence in Western philosophies and UN edicts than the Wisdom of Allaah. They fear more from their bosses, governments, and established Dajjali forces than from Allaah. In other words, they place their trust in everyone but Allaah.

Is this the kind of faith that is sidelined by and subservient to everything else in our life, acceptable to Allaah? Is it a true faith? If not, what is a true faith and how does one know if he/she is a true believer or not.

The Holy Qur-aan gives us a five-point criterion. We are true believers if we satisfy that criterion, otherwise we need to re-examine our thoughts, actions and priorities and identify clearly where we need to change to become true believers. However, this must be a self-evaluation. It must not become an exercise of judging others.
The believers are those whose hearts tremble under awe, when Allaah is mentioned; whose faith grows when His Aayaat are cited; who repose utmost trust in their Lord; who establish Salaah; and, who spend (in His way) from whatever sustenance We have bestowed on them. They are the true believers. For them will be high ranks with their Lord, and forgiveness and exquisite, bountiful sustenance. Al-Anfaal 8:2-4

Accordingly, the following are the indicators of true faith:

Their hearts tremble…

Mention of Allaah grasps the true believers’ full attention. Since He is the centre of their life and obedience to Him is the purpose of their existence, they attentively and respectfully listen in order to obey their Lord. They feel His presence and are over-awed by His Majesty, Greatness, and Grandeur. They, being mindful of their accountability to Him, tremble with fear and humility before Him. This happens because they have understood and internalized a proper perception of Allaah in their minds and built a close relationship with Him through continually remembering Him and keeping Him in their conscious thoughts.

Their faith Grows…

When they hear or are reminded about the commands of Allaah, they instantly, willingly and fervently abide by them. No hindrances, impediments, costs, or problems can deter them from exerting their maximum effort to fulfill His commands. They endure any difficulties and make any sacrifices that come in their way of doing what Allaah wants them to do. This listening to and acting upon Allaah’s commands, upon hearing them, increases and strengthens their faith.

Faith of a Muslim increases or decreases according to the way he lives. Neglecting the commands of Allaah or finding excuses for not practising them weakens a person’s faith until he becomes a hypocrite if the neglect continues. Obedience to Allaah, on the other hand, strengthens it. The more a true believer exerts and the more he has to endure, the stronger his faith grows.

They trust their Lord…

True believers have full faith and trust in Allaah in that whatever Allaah commands is in the best interest of humanity, is universal in its applicability (being good for all people), and is eternal in its validity (being good at all times until the Day of Judgment), whether doubters or hypocrites understand its benefits or not. They also have full trust in Allaah in that when they follow the commands of Allaah with proper spirit and dedication, they will be ultimately successful even if they are a small minority unable to have any impact on the affairs of the world.

The remaining two qualities -- establishing Salaah and spending in Allaah’s way -- are the natural result of this kind of true faith. They will be discussed next week, Inshaa Allaah.

The standard of true faith mentioned in this verse may be quite far from where we are today, but that is the standard we have to strive for. We will never be perfect, but continuously working on and steadfastly trying to reach that standard is what is expected of us and what will be appreciated and rewarded by Allaah, our Lord.

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